Peer milk-sharing participants generally keep it clean

February 17, 2017

Mothers who want the benefits of breast milk for their babies but can't produce the substance often turn to milk-sharing networks.

A new study from the University of Central Florida found that although not a recommended practice, those who participate in -sharing networks generally follow good hygiene, which is critical for keeping milk free from .

"Peer milk sharing is a growing practice despite warnings from the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics," said Beatriz Reyes-Foster, lead author and an anthropology assistant professor. "Our findings suggest that parents who engage in these networks are taking precautions to make sure their children don't get sick and that's not something we knew before this study. But there is room for improvement."

Reyes-Foster, sociology associate professor Shannon K. Carter and assistant professor Melanie Sberna Hinojosa, published their findings in this month's edition of the Journal of Human Lactation.

The team of researchers surveyed 321 Central Florida peer milk-sharing parents who did not exchange money for milk. They asked:

  • Do you freeze milk for more than six months?
  • Do you leave the milk at room temperature for more than 8 hours?
  • Do you use ice to transport?
  • Do you sanitize pump equipment?
  • Do you wash your hands before handling the milk?

The team found that 35.4 percent of recipients reported using all five safe practices and another 40.6 percent reported using at least four of the five. No recipient reported using only one or none of the . Results for donors were similar with nearly 80 percent confirming they sanitize pumps use to extract the milk.

The team also found that the behavior didn't change even when sociodemographic characteristics did.

The research was conducted in 2014, before a Human Milk Banking Association of North America bank was established in Florida. This organization provides donors with milk-handling guidelines. The researchers suggest that the numbers may change now that the organization is in the state.

The researchers also warn that more study is needed and that the findings don't extend to online classifieds where milk is exchanged for money. The prevalence of safety practices in those kinds of exchanges is unknown and deserves study, Reyes-Foster said.

Explore further: Breast milk shared to help babies via online and offline communities

Related Stories

Breast milk shared to help babies via online and offline communities

June 10, 2015
Sharing breast milk to feed babies is a practice dating back millennia, and the Internet has facilitated the process creating some surprising exchanges.

Used safely, donor breast milk can help preemie babies

December 19, 2016
(HealthDay)—Tiny preemies can benefit from donated breast milk—if it's given in the hospital with proper safety measures, a leading pediatricians' group says.

New review article suggests sheep milk may be the next functional dairy food

January 24, 2017
A paper published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety explored the physicochemical and nutritional characteristics of sheep milk and development of sheep milk dairy products containing prebiotics and/or ...

Breast milk consumption trending among body builders

February 19, 2015
(HealthDay)—Some bodybuilders are drinking human breast milk in the mistaken belief it will give a boost to their muscles.

Supplemental, nutrient-enriched donor milk does not improve neurodevelopment in VLBW infants

November 8, 2016
Among very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants, the use of supplemental donor milk compared with formula did not improve neurodevelopment at 18 months, according to a study appearing in the November 8 issue of JAMA.

Recommended for you

Small drop in measles vaccinations would have outsized effect, study estimates

July 24, 2017
Small reductions in childhood measles vaccinations in the United States would produce disproportionately large increases in the number of measles cases and in related public health costs, according to a new study by researchers ...

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.